Champion horse ranches compete for blue ribbons

Michael Shather
Staff Writer

Sunday was the second and final day of the 2010 Spring Classic Championship show at the Fairplex Equine Center.

This show gives horse clubs and organizations opportunities to show off their champion horses.
The Southern California Peruvian Paso Horse Club is devoted to the promotion and enjoyment of the Peruvian Paso Horses. These horses are considered the Cadillacs of pleasure horse species, and it showed in their performance in the arena.

For more than 30 years, the Southern California Peruvian Paso Horse Club has been one the most active and fastest growing clubs in the nation. The club is made up off breeders, trainers, owners, and riders of all ages. Many ranches also submit their champion horses to gain recognition.

“Every ranch talks about champion bloodlines and blue ribbons,” Maidy Dreyfuss, owner of D Ranch said. “D Ranch is special because we have our fair share of both, but more importantly, we have all the pieces needed to make a great Peruvian horse, whether it’s for show or enjoying out on the trail.”

The club produces three championship shows each year as well as sponsoring trail rides in various scenic Southern California locations.

Only a few spectators dotted the stands for the first show that started at 1 p.m. Perhaps the clouds that threatened rain or the cold breeze had scared them away. The only people that remained were family members of the riders and their trainers.

The High Point Show started with the junior class riders. Julia Mann was the winner in the 12-year-old and younger class and Colby McCray won in the 13-year-old and over class. Each horse wore a sash called neck ribbons as they trotted around the arena.

“I love riding,” McCray said. “I have been riding for years and we’ve really become a great team.”

Before the championship awards were given, Nicholas Breaux, special judge for the event, was honored for his commitment to the sport. Then the champion horses began to parade around the arena.

The contest for the Champion Performance Horse is judged on part skill and part show.

Each horse and their rider were groomed to perfection. Horses were outfitted with tradition style riding gear and each had their mane styled.

It looked like different hair styles one would see at a beauty pageant.

Riders were motionless as they lead their mounts through a variety of technical maneuvers. Each horse trotted to the pace called a pasiano, a step that resembled the shuffle. Then as music played over loud speakers, the horses stepped forward and back and made turns all in unison.

The challenge was called the serpentine move, a zig zag obstacle made through orange cones. It was like each horse knew what they were doing, signs that they were just performing as they had been trained.

“Consistency and experience make all the difference in training a champion horse,” Tony Bontella, trainer for D Ranch, said.

Michael Shather can be reached at

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